The Big Reveal

(I’ll be posting my All I Want for NaNo blog hop post on Sunday the 3rd)


Welcome to the Big Reveal

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
have a new question for them.

Do you prefer writing with real or imaginary settings?


Janeal Falor
Imaginary for sure. I love creating worlds. Usually I prefer imaginary settings when I’m reading as well, but there’s a lot of great books out there that take place in reality. My favorite setting is the world in the Fire and Thorns and Across the Universe trilogys. Rae Carson and Beth Revis did an amazing job making words rich in culture and carrying depth that emulates real life while bringing something new.

Julie Sondra Decker
I usually prefer realistic or modern settings, which is maybe odd for a fantasy author to say–but I’m really not particularly interested in worldbuilding, in my own writing or in others’. I do appreciate when an author knows how to make an alternate or future world seem natural, though; too many authors focus on the setting to the exclusion of fleshing out the people who live there, and that’s always been a big turn-off for me. Personally, I probably prefer writing modern/realistic settings because I’m very lazy when it comes to settings. I like depicting unusual people in ordinary worlds, so when I have to build worlds it really doesn’t come naturally to me and it can read a bit like it’s happening in a vacuum. Details of the characters’ world will filter into their life stories sometimes, but I don’t make an effort to depict the wider world outside that microcosm and it can be a problem if I’m writing immersive fantasy. I’m working on it, though!

Some authors who achieved the alternate-world setting masterfully, in my opinion, include Philip Pullman in His Dark Materials, Gregory Maguire in Wicked, Octavia E. Butler in her Earthseed and Xenogenesis series, Joan D. Vinge in the Cat series, Diane Duane in her Young Wizards series, and Shannon Hale in The Books of Bayern.


Kyra Lennon
I prefer real settings for the most part, though I don’t mind contemporary with a splash of imagination. One of my CPs wrote a book that was set in the real world, but another world existed alongside it – I loved that. My favourite book with an imaginary setting is Harry Potter!

Medeia Sharif
I prefer real settings for both reading and writing. I like anything detailed setting involving New York, London, and Paris.

Manda Pepper
Oh, this is difficult. Thinking about my work, I guess it’s mostly set in real or realistic places. Peter Stoller lives in London, for example, and my Sherlock Holmes stories also feature London and other parts of the UK. But some of my earlier short stories had fantasy settings. And I read all kinds of things, though I find I more prefer books that have places I can relate to. Even if it’s a fantastical world, I like there to be things about it that make it real; too much fantasy gives me a headache. There are a lot of authors who do interesting things with places, like Ben Aaronovitch’s version of London in the Peter Grant books, and Diana Wynne Jones’s worlds in her Chronicles of Chrestomanci series.

Rachel Schieffelbein
Both. I like to read both, and write both. One of my favorite books ever is The Ordinary Princess, and I loved the time Amy spent in the woods. M.M. Kaye did a great job of mixing the real with the magical. The Enchanted Forest series by Patricia C. Wrede was awesome, too. Loved that world.


Ilima Todd
>>>I like writing stories set in a future that could very well exist, so it’s imaginary but feels very very real, if that makes sense. Hence I love futuristic, light sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, dystopian-type stories. I like to read contemporary settings as well. As long as I can imagine being there myself, it works. High fantasy is tough for me to read for this reason. I really like STOLEN by Lucy Christopher for the outback Australia setting—so different.


Do you prefer writing with real or imaginary settings? What about reading?

6 Responses

  1. I loved Stolen too, Ilima. That was so different.

    I write contemporary, so I’m always dealing with real settings. It seems like it’d be easier than making up a whole reality, but then again, I’ve never written a fantasy, so I really don’t know.

  2. Rachel Schieffelbein

    I’ve mainly written contemporary, but I want to write stories with more magic in the future. 🙂
    Fun question, Suzi! 🙂

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